As a fitness and wellness coach, I talk to a lot of people who tell me they need to improve their health. For most people, that is a polite way of saying they want to lose weight. And quite frankly, it’s true. Most of us could stand to lose a few pounds. Some of us could stand to lose more than a few. The surprising thing is that if we are overweight, it’s not a secret. We know it, and the people around us know it. We also know that we would feel better, have more energy, and most likely live longer if we actually lost the extra pounds.
Yet, when I ask people if they really want to improve their health (read lose weight), why they don’t do something about it, there is always a reason. Not enough time. Dieting doesn’t work. Exercise is boring. Too much time spent commuting. Eating healthy is too confusing. Or one of my personal favorites–just haven’t gotten around to it.
These are a just a few examples of what I hear. The truth is that the reasons are as varied as the individuals I speak with. However, these reasons all have one thing in common–they are excuses, not reasons. Each one represents an obstacle when working toward a healthier lifestyle, but none are actually unbreachable barriers.
Like most obstacles, if there isn’t a way to go through them, there is usually a way to go around. Let’s face it, we are all busy people. Most of us are on the go from the time we get up until the time we fall into bed. The days become a blur just taking care of our work, our families, and daily commitments. Making time for exercise or even trying to plan a new menu can be enough to send many of us over the edge. Spending so much time taking care of everything and everyone else leaves absolutely no time for taking care of ourselves. That will just have to wait until later.
That’s fine–until there is no later.
Friends of mine were out to dinner the other night. A nice, romantic evening at an upscale restaurant. They enjoyed a lovely meal with a great bottle of wine and an even better dessert. When the time came to leave, she got up and dropped to the ground. She didn’t slip. She didn’t trip. She just collapsed.
My friend said the only thought running through his head was, “My wife has just died.”
Thankfully, she was fine. It was an isolated incident and the doctor could find no reason for the collapse. But it was a wake-up call.
These friends are close to retirement. In fact, he will be retiring in a few months, and she has already done so. Both are overweight and suffer from various ailments all too common in today’s society.
Only in their mid-sixties, they have been planning everything they want to do and all the places they want to see once they have the time and freedom. Everything, that is, except an exercise and nutritional plan. This incident made them realize that tomorrow isn’t always guaranteed. Because they actually want to experience their retirement and fulfill their plans, they now actively incorporate exercise and healthy eating into their daily lives.
Sometimes we need a scare to jump-start a healthy change. Sometimes just hearing about one will be enough. But the truth is, in order to make any change work and become a habit, there has to be a strong motivation. One that makes us willing to overcome obstacles and not give up when we discover that change isn’t as easy as we thought it would be.
The good news is that there are countless ways of getting healthy. It doesn’t have to mean going to the gym everyday and only eating salad. There are so many different options when it comes to making exercise a part of your day. Don’t let the idea that you don’t have time stop you from caring about your own well-being.
Because if you really feel that you don’t have time to spend on your own health, chance are you will actually run out of time much more quickly than you had planned.